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Reformers’ monastery complex, currently a parish complex and the Diocesan "Quo vadis" Christian Organisation, Culture and Education Centre, Sandomierz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Reformers’ monastery complex, currently a parish complex and the Diocesan "Quo vadis" Christian Organisation, Culture and Education Centre



The complex of monastery buildings from the last quarter of the 17th century is of significant historical and architectural value, important in the context of the sacred architecture of the region, and significant in the landscape of the old Opatów Suburb. The monastery complex was built of brick from the demolished castle in Zawichost, on the elevation of the Hill of St. Adalbert, whose name derives from a wooden church mentioned in fourteenth-century records, which has not survived to this day. The well-thought-out shape given to the space around the church in the 18th century is also of crucial importance (courtyard with the Stations of the Cross).


Reformers arrived in Sandomierz in 1672. A year later, after the erection of the religious congregation, they built the first monastic buildings still made of wood. Between 1679 and 1689, friars built a masonry church and monastery; in 1698-1703 they surrounded the monastery area with a wall and in 1776 they fenced the courtyard in front of the façade of the church with a wall with chapels containing painted Stations of the Cross (authorship of the design is attributed to Jesuit architect Father Józef Karśnicki). In 1809, the Church of St. Adalbert and the Church of St. Joseph were destroyed in a fire during the battles of the Duchy of Warsaw with the Austrian military forces. In 1864, following the cessation of the monastery, tsarist authorities set up an Orthodox church in the refectory, flats and office of the head of the border guard in the monastery buildings, and the church started to serve as a rectory church. A sacristy was added at that time. In 1934, the parish was relocated from the cathedral to the Church of St. Joseph. The church was destroyed by fire in 1944. After World War 2, the church and the monastery were reconstructed. In 2006, Bishop Andrzej Dzięga signed the founding act establishing a new Poor Clare monastery, and two years later the construction of the monastery began on the site of the former utility part of a post-Reformation complex.


The former monastery complex is located in the suburbs on the northwest side, outside the walls of the chartered town. Along with the former horticultural utility facilities, it is surrounded by a wall. The north-eastern part is occupied by an oriented church with a sacristy and porch, which adjoins monastery buildings arranged in a quadrangle to the south, courtyard surrounded by a wall with chapels to the west; the courtyard can be accessed via an entrance from the north through a decorative gate.

The complex was built in the Baroque style, and in the 19th century and after World War 2 it underwent major alterations.

The church was erected on a floor plan in the shape of two rectangles: three-bay nave and two-bay chancel. The body is simple, very harmonious, composed of two tall cuboid aisles and chancel, covered with steep gable roofs between triangular gables. A Baroque cupola at the top extends from a lower roof over the chancel. The walls were built of brick, in the wall-pillar system in the niche style; the interior is covered with barrel vaults with lunettes supported by arches. The façades are very modest, without partitions, and pierced by windows topped with semicircular arches. At the corners and on the façade, there are flat lesenes supporting the profiled cornice beneath the eaves. The centre of the front façade is pierced by a large semi-circular windows, three similarly shaped blind windows are located at a triangular gable; the central blind window is taller than the side ones. The articulation of the eastern wall of the chancel is designed in a similar way. The western porch which was added to the façade, surmounted by a Baroque gable, and is open on three sides by means of entrances is formally richer. Its gable has a niche with remnants of a painting. The interior of the church is characterised by walls partitioned with deep altar niches up to the height of the nave, with windows in the intrados of lunettes at the top. The spaces between the niches are adorned with Tuscan pilasters supporting sections of entablature. The interior of the chancel is separated from the nave by a circular arch, lower and features shallower niches. The original fixtures and fittings preserved inside the church include Baroque and Classical altars (around 1820) painted illusionistically using the trompe-l’œil technique.

The monastery consists of three wings adjoining the walls of the church and surrounding together with the monastery building a quadrangular garth. The wings are of varying length, two-storey, one-and-a-half-bay, and covered with gable roofs and three-pitched roofs. The façades were made after World War 2 and do not represent any specific style.

The wall separating the courtyard in front of the façade is pierced to the north by an entry gate leading to the area surrounding the church, and on the inside it is partitioned with chapels with niches containing painted Stations of the Cross (now reproduced). The gate and chapels are surmounted by decorative concave-convex Late Baroque gables with volutes on the sides. The entrance is topped on the outside by a niche with a painted half-figure of St. Joseph with Child.

The building is open to visitors; a site of worship.

compiled by Leszek Polanowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 11-12-2014.


  • Wiśniewski J., Dekanat sandomierski, Radom 1915
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. III: Województwo kieleckie, issue 11: Powiat sandomierski, prepared by Łoziński J. Z. and Przypkowski T., Warsaw 1962, pp. 86-88
  • Błachut A. J., Budownictwo małopolskiej prowincji reformatów w XVII wieku w świetle ustawodawstwa zakonnego, KAiU, vol. XXIV, issue 2, Warsaw 1979
  • Błachut A. J., Architektura zespołów klasztornych reformatów małopolskich w XVII wieku, KAiU, vol. XXIV, issue 3, Warsaw 1979
  • Kalinowski Z., Kościół św. Józefa. Fundacja i Dzieje świątyni do kasaty klasztoru w 1864 roku, Studia sandomierskie 2 (1981)
  • Record sheet: Zespół poreformacki, ob. parafialny; Kościół reformatów, ob. parafialny pw. św. Józefa; Klasztor reformatów, ob. Dom Rekolekcyjny Diecezjalny; Mur ogrodzeniowy z bramką i kapliczkami, prepared by Polanowski L., 1993, Archives of the Branch Office of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments in Sandomierz

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1679-1689 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Plac św. Wojciecha 2, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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